Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Today, with nothing special on the agenda, hubby and I decided to take a ride to Occoquan, a picturesque town on the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac. Virginia is filled with historic towns that have reinvented themselves by renovating their downtown districts into boutique and bistro-laden tourist destinations like Occoquan, and we’ve taken day trips to many of them. Today was Labor Day, and we were surprised to discover that many of the shops were closed. I guess I thought Labor Day was a big day for retail, but apparently not big enough for small business owners to warrant staying open on the holiday.

Occoquan is downright tiny, just a few short streets of shops and restaurants. We went into several of the gift shops, which all seemed to have the same inventory—Halloween and fall themed home decor. You know the stuff: resin pumpkins and fall wreaths and Halloween figurines, the shops infused with the scent of “Harvest Spice” potpourri. I know Halloween has become one of the biggest decorating holidays, but all of this stuff seemed so completely useless to me. I’m trying to de-clutter my life, so I can’t imagine going out of my way to buy more clutter and bring it home, display it for a month or so, and then have to find storage space for all of it.

Occoquan has a tiny museum, a footbridge over the river that leads to a small waterfall, a small park with a gazebo, and some lovely boardwalk decking along the river. It also has an eyesore of a 3-story rusting steel dry dock at water’s edge, and sits right next to the huge Rt. 123 bridge project, a hulking concrete 6 lane highway (with 10 foot shoulders) under construction that overshadows the tiny village (VDOT: Building Roads No One Needs, In Places No One Wants). Talk about overkill. According to VDOT’s website, they “worked closely with the Town of Occoquan to design a bridge that would be compatible with the historic waterfront community.” See what you think:

No comments: